UPDATE, February 18, 2014: Last Friday, the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) supported Governor Brown's proposal to put Career Tech Ed (as well as Ag Ed, see related story) under the wing of the Local Control Funding Formula -- funding at the discretion of the local school boards, rather than mandated by categorical funding status by the state.
January 27, 2014: While the state is offering education/business partnerships [see story below the jump] a one-time $250 million to develop career pathways ("college prep academics with hands-on learning in a career 'pathway' such as health or business," writes Susan Frey on today's EdSource), it no longer gives Regional Occupational Centers and Programs (ROCP) [categorical] funding. Until recently, there were 74 ROCPs operating throughout the state; two (Long Beach and East Bay in Oakland) have sinced closed. (In the Governor's May Revise of the current budget, categorical funding was included for two more years for a couple ROCPs that operated under "joint powers with several school districts and were also funded their local Offices of Education; the vast majority did not qualify for a reprieve under this distinction.)
ROCPs have also been eligible to apply for CalWORKs funding -- the state's "welfare to work" program -- to provide education and training to welfare recipients, and aid them in seeking employment or advancing to high levels of employment.
Frey cites the report released by the state Dept. of Education this month, that "shows a 20% drop in the number of career technical [ROCP] high school teachers" in the period 2011-2013. And only 38% of high school students took career tech courses in 2012-13, 12% less than one year before. (The last figure given by CDE for statewide enrollment was 470,000 students.) For an idea about course offerings, check out the 47-year-old, Torrance-based SoCal ROCP's spring 2014 course list.
The decline “is staggering,” said Lloyd McCabe, author of the report and an education administrator for [CDE's] Career Technical Education Leadership and Instructional Support Office..for 40 years [ROCPs] have offered a wide range of career classes from cosmetology to engineering as part of the high school curriculum...these centers also serve high school students who want to explore well-paying careers such as dental hygienist or carpentry that do not require a four-year college degree...Before the recession, the state allocated $486 million in [categorical] funding to the centers. When the recession began, the state cut the allocation by 20 percent and allowed districts to use the money for any educational purpose. This year’s budget and the one the governor has proposed for next year essentially provide no funds for the centers, but districts who are currently funding a center or program are expected to continue to do so through 2014-15...
One of the problems with eliminating dedicated funding for the centers, advocates say, is that they typically involve large investments in facilities and equipment such as carpentry and auto shops or dental offices and beauty salons. If funds for the centers and programs disappear, the facilities and equipment will be sold, they say, and will be too expensive to rebuild in the future.
[Superintendent of SoCal ROC Center in Torrance Christine] Hoffman said she is urging lawmakers to once again provide dedicated funding for these regional programs that she sees as crucial to local economies, and ultimately to the economic health of the state.
“By the time we realize what we have eliminated, it’s too late,” Hoffman said. “The facilities are gone, the equipment is gone, and we won’t have the funding to get them back.”
...ROCPs fall under one of three distinct organizational structures: (1) school districts participating in a county office of education operated ROCP, (2) school districts participating under a joint powers agreement, or (3) a single school district. ROCPs in California collaborate with public agencies and associations to create and implement important instructional classes and programs. Examples of these programs include: Certified Nurse Assistant/Home Health Care Aide (CNA/HCA), Automotive Youth Education Systems Programs (AYES), ROCP California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), and SkillsUSA. One of the strengths of the ROCP delivery system is that ROCPs work in partnership with local businesses and industries to design and provide programs for industry-based, transferable and portable certification programs based upon job market demand.